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Water Column Sampler Development

Most studies of marine microbiology have historically relied on sampling with Niskin bottles mounted on a rosette, that capture water samples from selected positions in the water column. These bottles are returned to the surface where water samples are typically processed by filtering and/or preserving them. The problem with this approach is that many microorganims, particularly protists, do not survive the journey to the surface from positions deep in the water column, and hence, any snapshot of the community is going to be altered to an unknown extent from what it is in situ. This is a particular problem when studying gene expression. Message RNA only lasts seconds to minutes, and the same genes that are expressed in situ are likely not expressed by the time the sample is processed. Cells in bottles that experience significant pressure changes, and perhaps temperature changes and some exposure to oxygen, almost certainly change their gene expression patterns if they are still alive. In collaboration with C. Taylor (WHOI), Laura Bristow and Bo Thamdrup (University of Southern Denmark), Maria Pachiadaki (WHOI), and engineers at WHOI we are developing a new water column sampler that can filter and preserve samples in situ, conduct in situ incubation studies, and capture accurate low-oxygen concentration data.  This instrument will help us gain a much better view into in situ activities. This is a significant advance for marine microbiology, and we are in the process of testing this new instrument. In addition, we are developing a miniaturized version of this instrument that can be deployed on an AUV.

SID-ISMS in Mediterranean Sea. (V. Edgcomb)

SID-ISMS in Mediterranean Sea. (V. Edgcomb)

C. Taylor and M. Pachiadaki working on SID-ISMS (V. Edgcomb)

C. Taylor and M. Pachiadaki working on SID-ISMS (V. Edgcomb)

 

C. Taylor and M. Pachiadaki preparing SID-ISMS for deployment (V. Edgcomb)

C. Taylor and M. Pachiadaki preparing SID-ISMS for deployment (V. Edgcomb)